Americans have growing distrust of public education

by mcardinal

Lauren Moye, FISM News


Fewer Americans trust public school education in these late-pandemic days according to a Gallup poll released Thursday. Only 28% of Americans have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. public school system.

Before the pandemic began, Americans had a similar attitude toward public education. At that time, only 29% of U.S. citizens had confidence in the school system. That number saw a brief surge in 2020 to reach 41%. Since then, that number has been once more in decline. In 2021, the number was only 32%.

The 2022 poll results make for the second lowest ranking on record for public schools. In 2014, only 26% of Gallup respondents voted their confidence. However, the number has seen a stark decline since 2020 with a 9-point drop in 2021 and an 11-point drop in 2022.

The poll found that a decline in trust was universal among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, although left-leaning voters saw a smaller drop compared to the other two categories. Republicans have polled consistently as having the least trust in public education since 2015, although Independents have trailed closely behind them in some years.

From 34% in 2020, Republicans dropped 14 points to reach 20% in 2021. There was a 6-point drop in the following year, meaning only 14% of Republicans currently trust public education.

Independents climbed to 38% in 2020 only to drop to 30% and 29% in 2021 and 2022 respectively. For the same years, Democrats began at 48%. They then polled 45% and 43% subsequently.

Gallup wrote: “Today’s 29-point gap between Republican and Democratic confidence in public schools contrasts with an average seven points since the start of Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions trend in 1973.”

There have only been two times that such a large gap has existed between the Right and the Left on public education confidence. That was a 25-point gap last year and a 19-point-gap in 2013, the year that Common Core was being hotly debated.

Additionally, 50% of Republicans responded they had “very little or none” to the confidence question. That creates a very steep climb from 2020 when only 26% of Republicans felt this way about public education.

Gallup noted that debate over “school curricula touching on racism, gender theory and sexual orientation” has helped spur a partisan divide in public education. Florida’s falsely named “Don’t Say Gay” bill is a prime example of this division.

However, despite strong Republican opinions against public schools, the issue remains low on voter priority. Only 1% of Republicans listed education as a top concern in regard to the upcoming election.